The aim of the Dialogue Project is to encourage interaction between students from AUC and other universities around the globe via academic courses and extracurricular activities based on the principles of cross-cultural dialogue, incorporating various engaging mediums such as videoconferencing technologies. This multifaceted set of activities gives students the opportunity to explore the dialogue process with counter-partners, discussing topics that range from current local/regional events to a wide variety of global socioeconomic, political and cultural issues. The Dialogue Project also organizes face-to-face interaction between AUC students and other university students from around the world.
In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, the Core Curriculum at The American University in Cairo sponsored a special project designed to use Internet videoconference technology and other forms of communication to promote dialogues between students at AUC and students in university classes in the United States. Informally dubbed "The Dialogue Project," this initiative began with a series of extracurricular dialogues with students at New York University, the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Maine, covering a period from mid-November of 2001 through the spring semester of 2002.
From here, the Dialogue Project evolved in a number of different directions, the most significant being the establishment of a three-credit-hour course focused upon a weekly videoconference with students at an American university. In the spring of 2003, an existing course title, SEMR 300, was used to launch a pilot for a videoconference course. The successful completion of this course was used as a springboard for the development of an entirely new course, Cross-Cultural Perceptions and Representations (SEMR 310) fully dedicated to the videoconference format. First offered in the fall semester of 2003, five sections of this course have been taught, including a special course offered in the fall of 2004, focused on the issue of gender treated cross-culturally and conducted with students in a class at Yale University.
With the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the project also introduced two new academic courses that are mainly based on partnering with universities from the Arab world and the global south: Spring in Arab Eyes and South-South Dialogue. Both courses have witnessed the participation of an expanding array of partners from the Arab world and the global south, including universities from Lebanon, Tunisia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Iraq, Kyrgyztan, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Senegal and Nigeria.
In addition to dialogues conducted as part of the Seminar 310 course, the Dialogue Project also sponsors extracurricular dialogues which come in two forms: first, single-session videoconference dialogues with university classes from counterparts around the world; and second, face-to-face dialogues with international groups/individuals visiting AUC. And, along with the Department of Political Science at AUC, the Dialogue Project also sponsored a special topics course, Arab and American Identities in Tension (POLS 430), which brings students from AUC and other U.S. and Arab universities together in Cyprus for two weeks each summer to live together and discuss issues concerning the relationship between the United States and the Arab world.
Moreover, the Dialogue Project has administered AUC student involvement in the Soliya program in which students, sitting at personal computer terminals equipped with web-cams and headsets, join group discussions with students from universities in the United States and the Arab world.
Please find below some links for stories and publications about the Program from various sources.